First report to you live from the trail!
Uncle Kevin & Humberto hosted us for 2 nights at their home in Escondido and saw us off at the Southern terminus at the Mexico border at Campo, CA. It was wonderful to have time to spend with them for the night before we started. Having family send us off was a great start! We took our obligatory monument photos and bounded off down the trail at 7:55am. It was a beautiful day, minimal clouds, 50 degrees to start, rising to the mid-70s by mid day. It was a day of ser work, but fun walking & supportive chitchat. It was a vast open desert with rolling hills and boulders. We took our breaks in the limited shade every couple hours to let our bodies rest from the daunting task of hiking after taking almost a 2 year hiking hiatus. Our minds are excited and keen on the adventure, though our bodies are taking some time to remember the life style.
Our first day brought us through 15 miles of the southern California desert to a shaded area near a dry creek bed. We started with extra water, knowing the first guaranteed water site was 20 miles in. 20 miles on the first day is quite an undertaking. We were happy to make it 15 miles, all while following one of the golden rules of listen to your body. My lack of natural padding on my lower back and hips is proving a bit tender with my 35 pound pack. My starting weight, which is probably the heaviest of the whole trail, included: 12lb base, 8lb for 4 days of food, and 15lb of water (I know 6L was a bit overkill, but I’d rather be safe than sorry for my first day). As we consume water and food, the pack weight decreases, just as our bodies decrease in energy. Balances out well!
Camp slowly filled as hikers starting later in the day finished up their 15 miles, while others continued up the mountain to the water source. It’s fun to have time to meet others and discuss the essentials: gear, food, body aches, poop routines, tan lines, and weather reports. We have met people from Canada, England, Switzerland, Sweden, Mexico, and all over the states so far. We had warnings of possible flash flooding in the canyon we stayed in the first night, but our group of 10 decided it’d be fine.
Fortunately, we were clear of rain for the night, so we started up our mountain trek to the water source in Lake Morena. It was a gorgeous morning to walk up the valley. At the campground, we found Robert, Elizabeth, and their daughter – Tiny Squishy had set up to provide some tasty treats and clean water for PCT hikers. Sodas and fruit snacks were enjoyed with the Brit couple, then continued on our way as a foursome, in search of the rumored Hiker Feed a few miles up.
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